A new sound has come to Bowlmor Lanes. Mixed in with the crack of bowling balls hitting oblong pins is now the "thonk" of wooden ball meeting wooden ball at the alley's just-opened Silicon Valley Bocce Club.
"We wanted to create something that was loungey, hip, cool and different," said Neil Bhatnagar, executive general manager of Bowlmor. "This is something really different for the Silicon Valley."
Typically played on sand, Bowlmor has installed two 8-foot-by-50-foot bocce pits lined with professional golf-grade astro turf in an intimate area of the business.
"This is the stuff pro golfers have in their backyards," Bhatnagar said of the material making up the luxe courts.
All or part of the space can be rented out by groups of any size for hours at a time.
The lounge comes complete with a full-service bar and a buffet area, perfect for company get-togethers, private parties and other organizations looking for a unique, and competitive, way to bond.
"We wanted to do something that brought people together," Bhatnagar said. "Something that was about team building and camaraderie."
Bocce rules are fairly basic, Bhatnagar explained, though Bowlmor put its own twist into the game.
"The rules are simplified a little bit here," he said. "We tried to make it a little sexier than regular bocce."
With a celebrity chef inspired menu, plasma screens that can be set up for presentations and San Francisco pop art lining the walls, Bhatnagar is convinced the new bocce club will be a draw for the Silicon Valley crowd.
"We've got two ping pong tables, a full bar, two bocce ball courts and we can accommodate 120 people," he said. "This is the perfect place to rent out and hold a party."